Sugar Bowl Rewind

Published on Thursday, 1/3/13, at 4:20 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

First off all, what an assbeating! From the first play from scrimmage, there was never a doubt.

Louisville got a pick-six on that first play from Terrell Floyd and then proceeded to gash Florida for 60 minutes in a 33-23 win that was nowhere near as close as the final score indicated. The Cardinals hooked up their backers as 14 to 14.5-point underdogs, becoming the biggest ‘dog to win outright in BCS history.

Gamblers taking U of L on the money line cashed generous plus-500 tickets (risk $100 to win $500). The 56 combined points went ‘over’ the 48-point total.

When the Cards took a 33-10 lead with a field goal midway through the fourth quarter, Florida’s Andre Debose returned the kick for a touchdown to give ‘over’ backers a winner.

The best player on the field was Louisville sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who completed 20-of-32 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns. His 19-yard TD pass to Damian Copeland got the third quarter started after UF’s failed onside-kick attempt.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, an electric group of U of L faithful chanted, “Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!”

The third-year head coach, who was turned down by so many schools after head-coaching interviews while he spent more than a decade as an SEC defensive coordinator, flipped the script a few weeks ago.

It was Strong who gave Tennessee the Heisman treatment when the Volunteers came after the U of L coach. In doing so, he showed loyalty and confidence in his program.

With Bridgewater on board for two more years and a future in the ACC, who needs the headaches that go with being the top man in Knoxville? Who needs an incompetent AD in Dave Hart when you have one of the best in the business in Tom Jurich?

Strong made the right decision in December and then his team rewarded him with the biggest win of his career. It says here that there will be many more.

Also, bettors might want to pay attention to Louisville in future double-digit underdog situations. The Cards are now 5-0 ATS in such spots on Strong’s watch.

Florida had a surprisingly dynamic regular season, going 11-1 with four wins over Top-10 teams, including arch-rival FSU. But this was a sour ending.

Not only did the Gators fail to show up, but many of their players acted like jackasses on the field for most of the evening. Despite trailing by double digits nearly the entire way, UF players regularly celebrated the few big plays they made.

All-American safety Matt Elam and senior RB Mike Gillislee appeared to be the only players who came to play. Elam was putting his helmet on opponents on every play. Unfortunately but not unexpectedly for the Gators, he announced his intentions to turn pro after the game. So did DT Sharrif Floyd.

Now Will Muschamp will await the decisions of TE Jordan Reed, LB Jelani Jenkins and DE Dominique Easley.

Perhaps Florida should trash the uniform combination it used vs. Louisville? The Gators wore orange pants on blue jerseys for the first time since a 1999 loss to Florida St. at home. The only time before that was Emmitt Smith’s final game as a Gator, another home loss to FSU in 1989.

With a win on the ‘over’ last night, I’m on a 5-0 run to improve to 66-40 (62%) for the season. I have a pick on the side for tonight’s Fiesta Bowl.

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